Top Ten Haunted Attractions in the United States

Salem, Massachusetts

Many will visit a haunted attraction this Halloween season. Some attractions get their appeal from their sad or dark history. has compiled ” America’s Top 10 Scariest Real Haunted Houses and Places to Visit” at Halloween. They were once prisons, institutions for the disabled or those with contagious or incurable diseases or the scene of a murder. looks briefly at the history of each. They are listed in order of ranking with the top-ranked first.

Salem, Massachusetts. In 1692, 150 men and women were jailed after being accused of witchcraft. Following trials, 19 were hanged. One man in his 80s was put to a slow, lingering death as heavy stones were placed on top of his body. Some of the accused died in prison while others were released. The state of Massachusetts in actions between 1711 and 2001 absolved all those who had been put to death of witchcraft.

Pennhurst Asylum. Originally known as the Eastern State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic, the Pennhurst State Hospital opened in 1908. It is located in Spring City, Pennsylvania about 33 miles from Philadelphia. A 1977 legal ruling said that its residents would do better living in the wider community. That ruling cited the poor care that many of the residents received, noting that some had been physically or sexually abused. The ruling opened the doors to the integration of the disabled into society on a national level.. Pennhurst closed in 1987. It’s scheduled to open this year as a haunted attraction.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Constructed in Louisville, Kentucky in 1908, Waverly Hills opened to tuberculosis patients in 1910. A new larger building opened in 1926. Waverly Hills continued to be a hospital for those with tuberculosis until 1961. It closed briefly, reopening in 1962. Later the building was used as a nursing home. It closed in 1980.

Lemp Mansion and Brewery. St. Louis, Missouri is the site of the mansion and the successful brewery of the wealthy Lemp family. The family’s wealth was tempered by excess, suicide and the reversal of fortune.

Eastern State Penitentiary. Opened in October 1829 in Philadelphia, ESP employed a radical approach by replacing corporal punishment with solitary confirnement and labor. The intended purpose was for the inmates to reflect on their crimes and repent. This approach was called the Pennsylvania System and it became the model for more than 300 prisons in the U. S. But within five years of its opening accusations of cruel punishments surfaced.

Strict solitary confinement did not last long. Even by the late 1860s it was impossible to stick to this plan because the prison population had grown and overcrowding was an issue. But it was not until 1913 that solitary confinement was officially ended. Famous prisoners at Eastern State Penitentiary included Al Capone and the bank robber Willie Sutton. It closed in 1971 and reopened as an attraction in 1994.

New Orleans, Louisiana. This city has lots of places to visit, including cemeteries with ornate monuments and a mortuary.

Winchester House. Sarah Lockwood Pardee married William Wirt Winchester, heir to the Winchester rifle fortune in 1862, In 1866 their infant daughter died. In 1881 Mr. Winchester died. In the 1880s. Mrs. Winchester began building this mansion in San Jose, California. At the time of her death in 1922 construction was still going on. The house then sat on six acres and had 160 rooms, 47 stairways, 13 baths and six kitchens.

Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz is located in San Francisco Bay and in 1853 the U. S. military began building a military complex there. Over the years the military facility has held prisoners too. In 1861 there were Civil War prisoners and in 1898 prisoners from the Spanish-American War .From 1934 to 1963 it was a maximum security federal prison. Alcatraz Island is now operated by the National Park Service.

From November 1969 to June 1971 a small group of Native Americans occupied the island. They wanted the government to give them possession of the island that Native Americans had visited and occupied thousands of years before the Europeans.Though they did not get title to Alcatraiz Island, the. government returned 48,000 acres and the Blue Lake to the Taos Indians..

Lizzie Borden House. Now a bed and breakfast in Fall River, Massachusetts, this house gained infamy in 1892 when Lizzie Borden was accused of murdering her parents in their home. She was acquitted in a trial.

Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada has lots of haunted places to visit. Clifon Hill is a bustling street that has pertinent attractions.